Friends of Falun Gong concluded its third annual poetry contest, which attracted over 150 participants from around the globe. The contest was co-hosted by the Society of Classical Poets, an online journal dedicated to the revival of traditional English poetry.

Friends of Falun Gong is an American nonprofit organization formed by citizens concerned about the Chinese communist regime’s treatment of Falun Gong practitioners. Since 1999, the Chinese regime has been systematically incarcerating Falun Gong meditators without trial; in prison, they are subjected to various means of torture to renounce their faith. Organs harvested from unwilling inmates (Falun Gong and other prisoners of conscience) have been found to be promoted and sold openly on the transplant market.

The themes present in this year’s winning entries reflect the belief among the poets that Falun Gong practitioners are peaceful people who should be free to practice their faith without threat of persecution.

After learning about the persecution’s many gruesome forms, the contest participants conveyed the sense of pain and urgency felt by practitioners and their sympathizers.

In his honorable mention entry, Remy Dambron wrote:

Hundreds of thousands of targets, tens of thousands hit,
An unconfirmed number of murders; thousands of families split.
The government in secrecy, is betraying the people’s trust,
They came for me at work, with electric batons and cuffs.

“I was fortunate enough to come across your website, where I learned of the disturbing persecutions taking place in China,” Dambron wrote to contest organizers. “I believe that Falun Gong is a safe and healthy spiritual practice, and that the Chinese government should be exposed for the inhumane treatment of its citizens.”

The contest was open to professional and amateur poets, including high school and college students, whose entries were considered in separate categories from the adults. Students in particular incorporated their own points of view in unique ways.

In her honorable mention entry, college student Mary Elizabeth Wissemann contrasted the sheltered attitudes of college-aged Americans with the horrors faced by young Falun Gong practitioners in China. High school student Beckham Lawre, in his first place poemLast Words of a 15-year-old Falun Gong Youth,” brought to color the thoughts of a young man steadfastly holding on to his faith while subjected to torture.

Winners of the Adult Award in the Friends of Falun Gong 2018 Poetry Contest

The Friends of Falun Gong website includes a list of all the winners, monetary awards each received, and links to all the poems, across all the categories. Below are poems of the adult winners.

First Place: David Watt, ‘The Longer View’

The Longer View

Falun Gong practitioners
Ask nothing in return,
And cause no harm to others
Though tortured eyes discern
Indignities abhorrent,
False pretenses made,
Bodies violated
For a gruesome trade.

Cast your mind to hist’ry
When tyrants thought they’d won
Through power of the sword,
The wielding of a gun;
Never realizing
Until their reign was through
That strength through faith implicit
Lives on in longer view.

David Watt is a writer from Canberra, Australia. He works for IP (Intellectual Property) Australia.

Second Place: Pax Chmara, ‘Forbearance and Truth’

Forbearance and Truth

Horrors of the world come in waves tonight.
Can you hear the pain of silenced voices?
Nonviolent and peaceful we must fight,
delivering compassionate choices.
Falun Gong practice forbearance and truth.
The Chinese government calls them a threat.
Illegal they say but where is the proof,
killing for control in this dance of death?
Crimes of genocide cannot be ignored,
harvested organs stolen for profit.
We are all culpable in the free world.
Isn’t there any way we can stop it?
We still have our hearts beating in our chests.
Use our freedom to fight for the oppressed

Pax Chmara is a New York native currently living in Zagreb, Croatia.

Second Place: Michael Charles Maibach, ‘Free the Falun Gong’

Free the Falun Gong

They stand before their rulers,
With backs against the Wall.
All they ask is “freedom,”
The eternal human call.
They stand before their rulers,
Asking but to speak.
Endowed by their Creator
Who champions the meek.
They stand before their rulers,
Asking to be seen.
As citizens—not serfs—
Their rights they seek to glean.
They stand before their rulers,
Asking to be known.
The dignity of person,
Grant solo flights be flown.
They stand before their rulers—
Who anointed them?
Where has it been written,
In parchment, or in hymn?
They stand before their rulers,
Demanding rights of creed.
The God of their Salvation
Stands for virtue, not for greed.
They stand before their rulers,
The day will come, for sure.
When ruling will be over,
And freedom’s light endures.
Until the light emerges
From the darkness of the fist,
We pray for captive people
Atop our own prayer list.
Until the light emerges,
From grasp of the State’s snare,
We pray for news of freedom,
Let its light shine over there!
Michael Maibach launched a poetry website in 2015, 

Third Place: Nathan Evans, ‘Availing Hope’

Availing Hope

Five golden stars on fallow bloody field;
Raise leaders lusting power, black-hearts stained.
The People’s trust, felled—fear the ruling wield;
Falun Gong’s faithful, tortured and profaned.

All sorrow sowed under guise of a lie:
Traitors stirring trouble, unworth lament.
Cruel conformity met with truthful sigh;
What peaceful movement wants first for dissent?

But reason is wasted, and scythe laid low,
Leaving widows of slain, harvested souls;
Orphans weep loud with no mother in tow,
While immoral oppressors reap their tolls.

Still, there is hope where compassion prevails;
Forbearance the heart in those who avail.

Nathan Evans is a special education teacher living in Baltimore, Ohio.